FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

At the Precipice of War

The familiar menace of U.S. war drums have resumed at a fevered pitch, as Iran finds itself once again firmly within the Pentagon’s cross hairs.

According to multiple reports, the U.S. is currently in the midst of a massive military build-up in the Persian Gulf on a scale not seen in the region since prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.  The military surge reportedly includes an influx of air and naval forces, ground troops, and even sea drones.  Lest one forgets, the U.S. already has two aircraft carriers and their accompanying striker groups in the region.

A growing sense of Iran war fever can also be seen mounting in Washington.  For instance, in an effort to foil ongoing nuclear negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany), a bipartisan group of 44 U.S. Senators recently sent a letter to President Obama urging the administration to “focus on significantly increasing the pressure on the Iranian government through sanctions and making clear that a credible military option exists.”

Such hawkish posturing occurs despite the fact that the U.S. intelligence community (as well as the Israeli intelligence community, for that matter) finds no evidence that Iran has decided to pursue a nuclear weapon–the ostensible reason behind Western sanctions and threats of attack.  Moreover, as an April Pentagon report states, Iran’s military doctrine remains one of self-defense, committed to “slow an invasion” and “force a diplomatic solution to hostilities.”  (Compare this to the U.S. military doctrine rife with notions of global “power projection” and one sees where the credible threat lies.)

The nuclear issue, though, is but a pretext used to veil U.S. imperial designs in the region.  As a senior U.S. Defense Department official recently let slip to the New York Times:  “This is not only about Iranian nuclear ambitions, but about Iran’s regional hegemonic ambitions.”  In other words, it is about removing one of the last irritants to U.S. power projection in the resource-rich Middle East.

Of course, Iran already finds itself under siege from a lethal trifecta comprised of U.S.-led cyber attacks, Israeli-led assassinations, and oppressive Western economic sanctions.  The latter of which has left ordinary Iranians to confront a toxic mix of ballooning inflation and rampant unemployment.  In short, as Conn Hallinan writes at CounterPunch, the West is “already at war with Iran.”

The question, then, is just how far this “war by other means” shall ultimately escalate?

Towards a Dangerous Escalation

Although punitive economic sanctions are frequently sold as an alternative to war, history is replete with evidence to the contrary.  In the end, sanctions are often but a prelude to military hostilities.  (One only needs to cross over to Iraq and look at the history of Western sanctions and eventual U.S. invasion.)

In fact, a recent report in the New York Times warned of much the same.  The current round of Western economic penalties imposed on Iran, the paper wrote, “represent one of the boldest uses of oil sanctions as a tool of coercion since the United States cut off oil exports to Japan in 1940. That experiment did not end well: The Japanese decided to strike before they were weakened.”

But much like the attempted torpedoing of Japan’s economy prior to the Second World War, the current attempt to bring Iran to its knees via economic sanctions may very well be designed to draw an attack from Iran–thus creating a justification for a full-fledged U.S. military campaign to impose “regime change.”

And much the same as in the 1940s, a global crisis of capitalism greases our current path to war.  After all, war enables the forcible opening of new markets, along with bounties galore to be wrought via “creative destruction”; both of which are desperately needed for the sustenance of an imperiled economic system predicated on limitless growth and expansion.  Indeed, this enduring allure of war has already reared its ugly head amidst the current crisis.

The colonial smash-and-grab that was the 2011 N.A.T.O. intervention into Libya, as Alexander Cockburn has deemed it, was our first evidence that Western elites have settled on war as a means to resolve the current intractable capitalist crisis.  But the spoils from Libya have proven to be insufficient to revive growth stymied since the onset of the 2008 financial crisis.

A heavily sanctioned Iran, on the other hand, boasts a G.D.P. over five times larger than pre-“liberated” Libya, while also sitting atop the world’s third largest oil reserves and the second largest natural gas reserves.  A defeated and placated Iran able to be enveloped more fully into the U.S.-dominated capitalist system thus holds great potential for global capitalism’s needed regeneration.  Of course, in seizing control over Iran’s energy resources, the U.S. and its allies would also come to possess a monopoly over the Middle East’s energy resources–a strategic key in any future conflict with rivals Russia and China.

And so it is that under the imperative of renewing global capitalism that the U.S. swiftly amasses its military hardware to the Persian Gulf under to cloak of combating nuclear proliferation.  The accompanying talk of military hostilities and of using “all options” against Tehran by elites in Washington thus ought not to be taken as idle threats.

Clearly, we stand at the very precipice of outright war.

Ben Schreiner is a freelance writer based in Oregon.  He may be reached at bnschreiner@gmail.com or via his website.

More articles by:

Ben Schreiner is the author of A People’s Dictionary to the ‘Exceptional Nation’.  He may be reached at bnschreiner@gmail.com or via his blog.

January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Craig Collins
Why Did Socialism Fail?
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposal Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail